Bengaluru

Over 70 lakh vehicles, only 3,400 traffic police

Less than 4,000 traffic police personnel are in charge of managing vehicular movement in a city that is spread across 800 sq. km. with a huge number of vehicles .

Less than 4,000 traffic police personnel are in charge of managing vehicular movement in a city that is spread across 800 sq. km. with a huge number of vehicles .   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

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Insufficient number of personnel has meant that they have to prioritise manpower deployment

“That moment when you feel sad seeing Bengaluru’s roads empty because that is not what the city is known for.”

The city’s infamously traffic-choked roads have been ready fodder for hundreds of such memes. But while the vehicle population in Bengaluru has surpassed the 70-lakh mark, the strength of the city’s traffic police is nowhere close.

The Bengaluru Traffic Police (BTP) has all of 5,200 sanctioned posts, of which only 3,400 have been filled. That means less than 4,000 traffic police are in charge of manning traffic in a city that is spread across 800 sq. km. with a vehicle population of over 70 lakh.

The number of sanctioned posts for the traffic police was last enhanced in 2016 from the earlier number of 3,600 posts. However, with a two-year recruitment and training period, the maximum percentage of total posts filled is usually around 80, officials said. Allotment of personnel is also divided among law and order, and traffic, and the former gets precedence.

The meagre number of personnel has meant that the traffic cops have to prioritise manpower deployment. “We go by priority. The top priorities are the busy corridors,” said R. Hithendra, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic).

The flip side is that the interior roads get left out of enforcement, for which the demand is only growing each day proportional to the problems they are facing. But there is little the BTP can do.

So as to not burden its personnel, the BTP has divided their work timings into two shifts, the second ending at 10 p.m. “After 10 p.m., we only have skeletal staff for emergencies,” said Mr. Hithendra.

But things have to change, said traffic expert M.N. Sreehari. “A vehicle to police ratio should be maintained. Bengaluru requires a minimum of 6,500 personnel for this kind of population. Even out of those recruited, some may be on court duty, some on leave, etc.

“They are working too much and under tremendous stress. The government should increasing the number of traffic police and make them visible on the roads. Then there will some discipline,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 4:16:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/over-70-lakh-vehicles-only-3400-traffic-police/article22913016.ece

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